A Birth Story- Isla Noelle

I guess the best place to start is Friday afternoon, May 5th. Baby was 5 days late, and I had a doctor appointment at 2:15. Dr. Tashjian checked me and said I was 3 cm and baby’s head was “right there.” She did a membrane sweep and warned me that when labor starts I shouldn’t wait too long before heading to the hospital. I really wish I had taken her advice. Since I was past due, she had me do an NST (nonstress test) to make sure baby was okay. She told me to schedule another NST and an ultrasound for early the following week if I hadn’t delivered yet. I set up appointments for Monday, hoping I wouldn’t actually need them.
That evening I wanted to take a walk to try to get things going. The whole family came, and the kids splashed in puddles along the way. Later that night my stomach kept tightening. It wasn’t painful, but it was consistent. I started timing the tightening and saw it was happening about every 2 minutes. I called my doctor and she said “I usually recommend women wait until they have contractions every 3-4 minutes and they kind of take your breath away. That doesn’t sound like that’s what’s happening here. Sometimes if you lay down it will go away, so you can either try that or you can head in to get checked out.” I decided to lay down and try to get some sleep. Before I knew it, it was morning and nothing had happened. I was slightly disappointment, but I had a feeling it was coming soon. I was right.
As soon as I got out of bed contractions started. This time they were slightly painful and definitely felt different from the night before. I immediately opened my contraction counter app to keep track of how long they lasted and how close together they were. They lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute and were about 5-10 minutes apart right off the bat. They were slightly painful, but nothing I couldn’t tolerate. As the morning went on, the contractions were becoming more painful and started getting closer together. Now they were every 1-3 minutes. I still wasn’t 100% convinced this was the real deal (although in hindsight it’s pretty clear it was), but around noon we decided to let Ron’s parents know this might be it and that they should head over to our house to watch the kids.
We got on the road at 12:45. I said, “Well I guess it’s either going to be today or tomorrow. I really hope we get admitted.”

When we walked into triage I said, “Hi, I think I’m in labor.”
The woman replied “But you’re smiling…”
The triage nurses weren’t very friendly this time around and it was obvious they didn’t think I was actually in labor.
By the time we got into the room to get checked out and I got into my hospital gown, it was 1:30. I didn’t call my doctor ahead of time to let him know I was coming in, so he had left for the day. The nurses made sure to let me know that “next time you should really call before you come.”
They had another doctor check me and he said I was 5 cm and definitely in labor. “Wanna stay and have a baby?”
“YES!”
Now it was time for the lovely nurse to get me hooked up to an IV. Getting an IV while you’re having contractions is unpleasant to say the least…especially when the nurse keeps messing up. “Ugh that one infiltrated.”
“That’s ok…”
“No it’s not ok. I’m sorry. I’ll have to try the other arm. I’m usually a really good stick. I’m the one they come to when they can’t get it. It’s these catheters. They’re horrible.”
Whatever lady…just do what you have to do.
So then she tried on my other arm and ruined that vein too. She decided to give up and said someone else will try when we get to the labor and delivery room.
As Ron and I were waiting to switch rooms I had to brace myself to get through each contraction. They were rapidly becoming more and more intense. I said to him “I need an epidural. I feel stupid getting one so soon, but it hurts so bad.” I knew things were progressing quickly.
We finally headed to the delivery room around 2:00. It was during this time things became unbearable. They asked if I needed a wheelchair, but I stupidly declined. I very slowly followed the nurse down the hallway and had to stop every 5 seconds to try to get through the next contraction. They were becoming SO intense and the pain was radiating through my lower back. I’ve never experienced back labor before, but from what I’ve read I knew this meant baby was posterior, and that might make delivery more difficult. Wonderful.
The next hour is a little hazy. Everything seemed to move on fast-forward. I had to sit in the bed so they could attempt an IV for the third time. Failed again. I was becoming really frustrated. “Why do I even need an IV?! Can we just skip it?”
“No because when you have an epidural it can affect your blood pressure, so you really need to have an IV.”
Eventually they got it on the 4th try.
By now I was delirious from the pain. I remember saying, “I think I’m dying” several times. I realize that sounds overly dramatic, but at the time I literally felt like I was going to die. The nurses reassured me that I would be okay and one even said, “at least you’re getting a little break in between contractions.”

I thought to myself, umm… what break are you talking about?

I looked over and saw Ron smiling and promised him I’d punch him in the face if he smiled again. LOL.

Seconds, not minutes, would pass between contractions and I could feel my entire body convulse with the tension – toes twitching, hands clinging to the bedrails … hanging on for dear life. I didn’t know what position to try to get into because nothing made it feel any better. I just stood there on the verge of tears saying “I don’t know what to do.” I was scared. Really scared. The pain was unbearable and it was all happening so quickly that I felt out of control. I asked about the epidural, and they said they were working on it. I knew in the back of my mind I wasn’t going to get it in time.
I asked if I could push or if they could check me. The nurse did and said I was “about an 8. Your waters way down low and is probably causing the pressure you’re feeling. I don’t want to break it.”
2 minutes later there was an unbearable urge to push. I literally couldn’t help it. I was sitting on the edge of the bed and said “I’m pushing!” The nurse told me to lay down and I cried “I can’t!” She said “If you’re telling me you need to push, then you have to lay down.”
I managed to get on the bed and kept yelling “I have to push! I’m pushing!” I could feel my stomach bear down and push involuntarily. I had no control over it. I had an epidural with Chloe and Miles because my biggest fear was pushing. But now that I didn’t have one, pushing actually made it feel better. It finally gave me some control and something I could do to manage the pain.

My doctor still wasn’t back at the hospital, so the nurses called a midwife in to deliver the baby. I gave one big push and my water exploded. That’s when Ron and I both stopped looking lol. She kept telling me to “Slow down! Let your body do the work for you.”

“I’m gonna throw up!” I said.
The nurse told Ron to grab a bucket from the shelf. It took every bit of self-control I had to stop myself from pushing. I braced myself for the “ring of fire” I heard people talk about, but it never came. What I did feel was a TON of pressure, and then a pop.
I heard the midwife say “There’s the head!” She was born with her hand on her face.
Oh my God. I can’t believe I’m actually doing this right now. I’m delivering naturally and there’s no turning back.
She told me I could give a little push, and then the shoulders came out. I don’t remember exactly what it felt like, and I have no idea what I was looking at because I don’t remember seeing the birth at all. Maybe I had my eyes closed? Who knows..
Then I heard her say “Look down! Here’s your baby!”
I yelled “I don’t want to!” lol I felt disconnected at that moment. It was such a traumatic delivery, I guess I forgot I was getting a baby at the end of all of this.
As soon as she was born the pain instantly went away. They put her on my chest and I was sobbing.  I kept saying “I’m so happy that’s over!” Then I felt the need to apologize for anything I might have said to the nurses during my mental breakdown.
They said “Are you kidding? You did better without an epidural than most women do with one!”
The next two hours were complete bliss. Quiet. Peaceful. Just me and the love of my life bonding with our brand new baby girl. The feeling of her warm body against mine made it all worth it.
Welcome to the world, Isla! You sure know how to make a grand entrance.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Maternity/Family Photo Shoot

BeFunky Collage

With my due date fast approaching, I wanted to have maternity/family photos taken to capture the belly before it’s gone. I reached out to Ashley Halas, our go-to family photographer, to get a date in the books. (She’s also the one who took the photos for my Adult Cake Smash Photo shoot.)

We set a date for March 19, but there was snow in the forecast. A lot of it. Fortunately, we didn’t get as much as expected, so the show went on. The snow actually made the perfect background.

I love how they turned out! I especially love that we were able to recreate some of the photos we took when I was pregnant with Miles.

BeFunky CollageBeFunky Collage

I also took a silhouette photo that I absolutely LOVED when I was pregnant with Miles, so I decided to do it again. I found the directions here.

BeFunky Collage

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

It’s a….GIRL!!!

Anytime you’re pregnant you undoubtedly get asked “What are you hoping for? A girl or a boy?” I always just respond with “I really don’t care, I just want a healthy baby.” At the end of the day that’s the most important thing. But when you get asked the same question all the time, you start to think about it a little more.

There are a lot of reasons to want another boy- 1. Miles and the baby will be closer in age 2. Miles has a bigger bedroom which will be easier to share with baby 3. They can rough house together

But there’s also a lot of reasons to want another girl- 1. Chloe is the only girl out of all the cousins 2. Baby will be born in the spring, so I could re-use all her old clothing 3. Chloe really wants a sister

Well today was the big day! Ron couldn’t come to the ultrasound because he’s been really busy at work, so my mom met me there. She was convinced it was a boy.

BOY was she wrong! Ha!

We’re having another baby girl and we’re absolutely thrilled about it! I made an ornament for our gender announcement. The ornament, beads, and ribbon all came from AC Moore.

IMG_9912

Now we have to figure out a name. We have very different taste, so it’s going to be a while. Stay tuned!

xo

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

North Pole Breakfast

north-pole-breakfast-2014

Today we had our annual “North Pole Breakfast” when our elf, Candycane, arrived. The kids were so excited he came back again. It’s so simple to do and really doesn’t take much time or planning.

Let’s take a look back at the past 3 years of this tradition shall we?

2014…where it all began 🙂

2015 (I was slacking on the decorations a bit)

Today

All I used were decorations from the dollar store. The best part is you can reuse them every year and the kids are none the wiser.  Then I ran over to Acme to grab what I needed for the actual breakfast.

Menu

Santa Hats- slice of banana, strawberry, topped with a mini marshmallow (held together with a toothpick)

Candy Canes- banana and strawberry slices

Snowballs- powdered donuts

North Poles- stacked powdered donuts held together with a candy cane

Christmas Tree- grapes, apples, strawberries, and pretzels

Stockings- jello cut with a cookie cutter and topped with mini marshmallows

Snowman- waffles and icing (or could use whipped cream) and clementines stacked together

Chloe’s allergic to eggs and dairy, so we keep the menu simple with mostly fruit options. Makes grocery shopping very easy 😉

Like I said this really doesn’t take a whole lot of planning, but the kids LOVE it!! Now that the breakfast is over and done with, I think Candycane may have some tricks up his sleeve this month!

xo

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

25 Days of Christmas

Christmas is a big deal at our house. It’s our favorite time of the year, and we love making it special for the kids. Last year I bought an advent calendar from Pottery Barn Kids. I like to fill each day with a little candy cane and an activity we could do together. The great thing about this is you can always switch activities around to fit your schedule if something comes up. I like to save the more time-consuming activities for the weekends, especially now that I’m working.

Here’s this year’s list of holiday fun!

  1. Decorate the tree
  2. Make and decorate cookies
  3. See a Christmas show
  4. Candy cane hunt
  5. Wagon ride to see lights (We like to drive around and look at lights too, but this way gives the kids a better view. I had an extra set of lights I didn’t use for decorating last year, so I threw them on the wagon to make it a little more fun)25-days-of-christmas-9
  6. Picnic by the tree
  7. Make ornaments
  8. Donate canned food to church
  9. Christmas movie by the fire
  10. Make salt dough ornaments for grandparent gifts
  11. Polar express ride
  12. Write letter to Santa
  13. Buy or make gift for sibling
  14. Sing Christmas carols
  15. Indoor or outdoor snowball fight (I hope we can do an outdoor one this year-fingers crossed!!)
  16. Go to a tree lighting
  17. Visit Santa at the mall
  18. Go ice skating
  19. Family camp out by the tree
  20. Buy a gift for a toy drive
  21. Make paper snowflakes and decorate the windows25-days-of-christmas-1
  22. Wrap gifts
  23. Make reindeer food
  24. Sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn
  25. Jesus is born! Put Jesus in the manger and celebrate Christmas 🙂

Here’s the  printable version of the activities I use, if you’re interested. I included some blanks for different ideas you may have as well as some extra activities.

I also like to do the “25 Book of Christmas” idea I got from Pinterest. The first year I did it, I was scrambling around trying to find Christmas books at the library and Barnes and Noble. Now I have so many that it’s more like the “40 Books of Christmas” haha. I have a weakness for children’s books, what can I say. I wrap each book and stack them in order from smallest to biggest under the tree. Every night in December Chloe chooses a book (or 2, depending on how many we have left) to unwrap and we read it in our “cozy spot” next to the tree. This year Miles is big enough that he’ll probably want to get in on the action too :). Wrapping the books is a pain, I’ll admit, but once that part’s done it’s totally worth it to have that special time together every night. It’s quickly become one of my favorite traditions.

Once our elf arrives, I’ll post about the North Pole Breakfast.

Can’t even believe Thanksgiving is this week and I can officially be in full-blown Christmas mode. Woo hoo!!!

xo

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Cartwheels and Cupcakes

Last year Chloe had a Perfect Pinkalicious Party. This year she wanted to have a gymnastics party, so that’s exactly what we did. We went to Schafer’s School of Gymnastics, which is actually where I used to go as a kid. I even had one of my birthday parties there too 🙂 . That’s me in my stunning red leotard. The room looks exactly the same 20+ years later.

scan0030

She did gymnastics with her friends and then they had lunch and cupcakes. Aren’t the cupcakes so cute?! (Not to mention, delicious!) A friend from work made them for me.

party 1

For party favors we filled water bottles with candy and attached jump ropes. I found the cute tags on etsy (here), printed them on card stock, and attached them with ribbon.

party 2

Since I don’t know most of the kids’ addresses, I set up this little sign. Now we’ll be able to write everyone a thank you note.

party 3

Chloe had the best time! Here are some photos of all the fun.

If you like Chloe’s shirt, you can order one here!

xo

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Summer Bucket List

Today was the last day of the school year. Summer break is officially here!!! (Not that I needed a break because I just got back to work 21 days ago, but hey- I’ll take it 😉 ) As excited as I am, I know these next two months will fly by, as time always does, especially when you have children. In order to make sure I don’t find myself saying “Summer’s over already?! I feel like we didn’t even do anything!” I decided to brainstorm a list of things I want to make sure I do with the kids. I came up with about 65, but that seemed a little too ambitious, so I narrowed it down to 50. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my summer bucket list!

summer bucket list

Want to try it too?  Click here to print

xo

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Jump to the Letter

On June 1st I went back to work for the first time since I was pregnant with Miles; which explains why I’ve been MIA recently. Only a week and a half until summer break though!! haha

Anyway, we were playing outside this afternoon drawing with chalk on the driveway. Chloe wanted to write the whole alphabet, but she forgot how to make some of the letters. I told her I’d write it and she could copy me- which ended up turning into a game. Don’t you love when that happens?!

We played so many different games with the alphabet. She was entertained for a good hour, and it only took 2 minutes to set it up. That’s the best kind of activity as far as I’m concerned.

jump to the letter

  1. I’d call out a letter and she would jump to it.
  2. I’d call out a sound and she would jump to it.
  3. Follow the leader- she would jump to random letters (saying what they are), and I had to follow her
  4. She would throw a rock and say the letter it landed on. Bonus points awarded if she could think of a word that begins with that letter.
  5. She had to try to make it across the driveway without stepping on a letter. If she accidentally stepped on one she had to say what it was and what sound it makes.

The list goes on…

It’s funny how something so simple could be so engaging to an almost 4 year old. Now if I could just think of something similar for Miles…

xo

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Bridal Shower Gift with Free Printable!

bridal shower gift

A good friend of mine got hitched last month, and all of the bridesmaids wanted to go in on a joint gift for the shower. Now I do have to disclaim this wasn’t my idea. It took 7 brains to iron out all the details, but in the end we had a gift we were so proud to give our bride and she absolutely LOVED it!!

So what is this amazing gift? You and your team of bridesmaids plan 12 dates for the newlywed’s first year of marriage- one for each month! This gift is meant to be given by a group of people, because it would get very expensive to do on your own.

Step 1: Brainstorm. Think about what your couple likes to do, what their interests are, and start making a list of possible dates.

Just to give you a few ideas, here’s what we decided on: Couple’s massage, Philly date night, honeyfund certificate, brunch, mini golf, fall fun date, dine-in theatre, NYC date night, ice skating, pizza place, bowling, and bed and breakfast. You could also do sports games, concerts, amusement parks, etc. Whatever your couple likes!

It’s a good idea, if you’re doing this as a group, to determine the amount of money everyone is willing to spend ahead of time. Of course some dates will cost more than others, but if you decide on a budget in advance, it makes things easier.

Step 2: Divvy up the responsibilities. Decide who will be in charge of which dates and work on collecting all of your gift cards. You may want to set a deadline to keep everyone on track. bridal shower gift 2

Step 3: Make a scrapbook to pull it all together. One of the bridesmaids came up with this really cute poem to display on the opening page. Feel free to use it! Click here to print. Then, the maid of honor designed and put together the pages. She arranged the gift cards on the left side, leaving the right side of the spread open for them to add pictures after the date. Here’s the great part- by the end of the year, they’ll have a completed scrapbook of their whole first year of marriage! How cute is that?!


Optional- you could also write a little poem for each date to help fill up the page in the scrapbook. If you need some inspiration, here are ours:

Couple’s Massage- The last few months have been hectic for you, so enjoy a relaxing massage for two!

Philly Date Night- It’s a hop, skip, and a jump away. You should go to Philly for a day! Take a picture in LOVE park, or a walk down the street. Then off to one of your faves, for a bite to eat!

Honeyfund- Your honeymoon to Greece will be magical, no doubt. You will see many sights being out and about. Here is our gift, a dinner for two. Just a reminder that we’re thinking of you!

Brunch- Summer’s almost over, the leaves will start to crunch. Enjoy the last few days of sun, with mimosas and brunch!

Mini Golf- A day of golf and fun in the sun, I wonder which of you will get a hole in one!

Fall Fun Date- The leaves are all brown, and the air has a chill. A haunted hayride is surely a thrill. Whatever you do, beware of the night. The shadows and sounds will give you a fright!

Dine-In Theatre- Dinner, movie, and drinks, oh my! You couldn’t beat it if you tried. So sit back and enjoy the show, Movie Tavern is the place to go.

NYC Date Night- Time to head to the city and be of good cheer, to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. We’ve arranged for you to have dinner for two, at a place that is both exciting and new. Then, enjoy shopping or visit the tree, the place where he got down on one knee. Whatever you do is sure to be fun, New York at Christmas can’t be outdone!

Ice Skating- The hustle and bustle had come to an end. You’ve sent your love to every family and friend. So take some time for just you two, but be careful you don’t end up black and blue! Just tighten your laces and grab a drink, hold onto each other and head to the rink!

Pizza Place- Roses are red, violets are blue. Pizza tastes better when you eat with your boo.

Bowling- Knock down some pins and stay in your lane, this makes for one fun little game!

B&B- Well that was fast! It’s been a year. Your anniversary is already here! In order to celebrate your special day, this Bed and Breakfast is where you will stay.

Hope this has inspired you! If you like the idea please pin and share!!

xo

 

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Bunch O Balloons

Have you heard of Bunch O Balloons? You guys…this thing is seriously cool. You can fill and tie 100 water balloons in just 60 seconds! 60 seconds!!! That’s insanity. Doing it the old-fashioned way takes SO much longer, and when you have little kids who smash two at a time, you can’t possibly keep up with them. Well now you can. With summer fast approaching, I’m always looking for new, fun things to do with the kids. This one’s a winner.

My hubby and Chloe picked these up for about $9 at Toys R’ Us. We had so much fun with them I ended up going out and buying more the very next day haha. Each pack has 3 bunches of balloons. All you have to do is connect it to your hose, fill them up, and then pull the hose off to release the balloons. I wish we had this thing when we were growing up. Sigh.

The downside? At $9 a bag, they’re not exactly cheap entertainment. Especially when you blow through them like my kids do. You know what is though? A shallow plastic storage container, water, and cups/watering cans. I got that idea here and absolutely loved it! I didn’t use food coloring, but you could to make it even more fun! A flower sprinkler is always awesome too 😉

What are some things you like to do to keep the kids busy during the summer?

xo

Note- ZURU did not sponsor this post and these opinions are my own.

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail